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Ancient Egypt was home to one of the greatest empires in history, with leaders like Tutankhamen (King Tut), Cleopatra, Ramses II and landmarks like the Great Pyramid at Giza and the Sphinx.
Ancient Egypt: Religion, Facts and Pyramids
T he ancient Egyptians believed in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. This belief was rooted in what they observed each day. The sun fell into the western horizon each evening and was reborn the next morning in the east. New life sprouted from grains planted in the earth, and the moon waxed and waned. As long as order was maintained, everything was highly dependable and life after death could be achieved provided certain conditions were met. For example, the body had to be preserved through mummification and given a properly furnished tomb with everything needed for life in the afterworld.
M ummification, the preservation of the body, was described in the ancient Pyramid Texts. With the death of Osiris, god of the dead, the cosmos fell into chaos and the tears of the gods turned into materials used to mummify his body. These materials included honey, resins and incense.
B efore mummification evolved, the corpse was placed in a sleeping fetal position and put into a pit, along with personal items such as clay pots and jewellery. The pit was covered with sand, which absorbed all the water from the body, thus preserving it. Burial pits were eventually lined with mud bricks and roofed over, and the deceased were wrapped in animal skins or interred in pottery, basket ware or wooden coffins. With these "improvements", decay was hastened because the body no longer came in contact with the hot sand. To solve this problem, the internal organs of the deceased were removed and drying agents were used to mummify the body.
| Canopic jars. One of Horus's four sons was represented on the lid of each jar. The human-headed Imsety looked after the liver Hapy, a baboon, guarded the lungs Duamutef, a jackal, protected the stomach and Qebehsenuef, a falcon, cared for the intestines. |
Royal Ontario Museum
T he practice of mummification began in Egypt in 2400 B.C. and continued into the Graeco-Roman Period. During the Old Kingdom, it was believed that only pharaohs could attain immortality. Around 2000 B.C., attitudes changed, however: everyone could live in the afterworld as long as the body was mummified and the proper elements were placed in the tomb. But since mummification was expensive, only the wealthy were able to take advantage of it. Although mummification was not a strict requirement for resurrection in the next world, it was certainly regarded as a highly desirable means of attaining it. The prayers in the Book of the Dead were intended to help the deceased make a successful transition to the afterlife.
T he art of mummification was perfected in the Third Intermediate Period (1070-712 B.C.). Around 450 B.C. (Late Period), the Greek historian Herodotus documented the process:
"As much of the brain as it is possible is extracted through the nostrils with an iron hook, and what the hook cannot reach is dissolved with drugs. Next, the flank is slit open . . . and the entire contents of the abdomen removed. The cavity is then thoroughly cleansed and washed out . . . Then it is filled with pure crushed myrrh, cassia, and all other aromatic substances, except frankincense. [The incision] is sewn up, and then the body is placed in natron, covered entirely for 70 days, never longer. When this period . . . is ended, the body is washed and then wrapped from the head to the feet in linen which has been cut into strips and smeared on the underside with gum which is commonly used by the Egyptians in the place of glue."
Bob Brier, Egyptian Mummies
N atron, a disinfectant and desiccating agent, was the main ingredient used in the mummification process. A compound of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate (salt and baking soda), natron essentially dried out the corpse. Obtained from dried-up river beds, it was packed around and inside the body in linen bags, and left for 35 to 40 days to draw moisture out of the tissues. By removing the organs and packing the internal cavity with dry natron, the body tissues were preserved. The body was filled with Nile mud, sawdust, lichen and cloth scraps to make it more flexible. Small cooking onions or linen pads were sometimes used to replace the eyes. Beginning in the third dynasty, the internal organs (lungs, stomach, liver and intestines) were removed, washed with palm wine and spices, and stored in four separate canopic jars made of limestone, calcite or clay. Prior to this, the abdominal contents were removed, wrapped and buried in the floor of the tomb. However, the heart was left in the body because it was considered the centre of intelligence.
- Nile mud
- linen pads
T he corpse was then washed, wrapped in linen (as many as 35 layers) and soaked in resins and oils. This gave the skin a blackened appearance resembling pitch. The term "mummification" comes from the Arabic word mummiya, which mean bitumen, a pitch substance that was first used in the preservation process during the Late Period. The family of the deceased supplied the burial linen, which was made from old bed sheets or used clothing.
I n the Middle Kingdom, it became standard practice to place a mask over the face of the deceased. The majority of these were made of cartonnage (papyrus or linen coated with gesso, a type of plaster), but wood and, in the case of royal mummies, silver and gold, were also used. The most famous mask is Tutankhamun's.
| Mummy mask |
Wood covered with painted gesso
Canadian Museum of Civilization XXIV-C-63
| Mummy mask |
Moulded and painted linen
Royal Ontario Museum 910.15.3
T he ancient embalmers used very few tools, and once their work was completed, they sometimes left them in or near the tomb. The basic tool kit included a knife to make the abdominal incision, hooked bronze rods to extract brain matter, a wooden adze-like tool to remove internal organs, and a funnel to pour resins into the cranial cavity through the nose.
T he Egyptians mummified animals as well as humans -- everything from bulls and hawks to ichneumons and snakes. Some have been found in large quantities, while others are rare. Many species were raised in the temples to be sacrificed to the gods. Autopsies on cats show that most had had their necks broken when they were about two years old. Cats were highly valued members of the ancient Egyptian household. They destroyed the rats and mice that would otherwise infest granaries, and assisted in hunting birds and fishing. In the nineteenth century, vast quantities of cat mummies were sent to England to be used as fertilizer.
Egyptian myths are mainly known from hymns, ritual and magical texts, funerary texts, and the writings of Greeks and Romans. The creation myth saw the world as emerging as a dry space in the primordial ocean of chaos, marked by the first rising of Ra. Other forms of the myth saw the primordial god Atum transforming into the elements of the world, and the creative speech of the intellectual god Ptah.
The most important myth was of Osiris and Isis. The divine ruler Osiris was murdered by Set (god of chaos), then resurrected by his sister and wife Isis to conceive an heir, Horus. Osiris then became the ruler of the dead, while Horus eventually avenged his father and became king. This myth set the Pharaohs, and their succession, as orderliness against chaos.
#3 Many animals were considered sacred in Egyptian society
The Egyptians believed that when one of their gods or goddesses came down to earth, they would represent themselves as a specific species of animals. Most of the Egyptian gods are often depicted either as an animal or as animal-headed humans. Some of the important animals in their religion are mentioned below:-
Ram – Amun, widely accepted as the god of gods, is depicted in ram form. Ram was also considered sacred to Khnum, the god who created man on his potter’s wheel.
Scarab Beetle – Considered sacred to Khepri, god of resurrection. Khepri pushed the sun across the sky, as the scarab pushes its dung behind it in a ball. The young scarabs born out of the dung symbolized new life and resurrection.
Cat – It was considered sacred and a symbol of grace and poise. Egyptian god Ra was depicted as “The Great Cat of Heliopolis”. Cats were one of the most recognizable species in Egyptian culture
Cow – Among others, the goddesses Isis, Hathor and Nut were often depicted as cows. The cow came to known as the mother of the Pharaoh who was himself considered divine.
Bull – The bull was sacred to Osiris and Ptah and was linked to masculinity. Apis was a sacred bull deity worshiped at Memphis. It was regarded as the son of goddess Hathor, a prominent deity. While it was still alive, the Apis bull was seen as the Ba of Ptah, mummified god of creation and after death, it became Osiris-Apis. Mnevis was a bull deity which had its center of worship at Heliopolis. It was regarded as the Ba of Re-Atum.
Falcon – The falcon was associated with royalty and was considered as the Ba of solar god Horus.
Jackal – Anubis was the Egyptian god of mummification. He was represented as a black jackal or dog, or as a man with a head of a jackal or a dog.
Ibis – Ibis is a long-legged omnivorous bird that eats both plants and animals. Egyptian god Thoth was often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis.
Animals were thought to share an afterlife with humans and they were often buried within family tombs. Many mummified forms of various species of animals have also been discovered in ancient Egypt underlining the sacred value attributed to them.
Suggested solitaire games
- Family: Adding & Pairing Solitaire Games
- Decks: One deck (52 cards)
- Game time: Short
- Chance of winning: Medium
The objective in Pyramid Solitaire is to remove all cards in the pyramid by pairing cards that add up to 13.
Layout & deal
First, 28 cards are dealt face-up in the shape of a pyramid, with the cards partially overlapping. The remaining cards are put face-down in the stock.
- Pair cards that add up to 13. Pairing is done by first clicking on the first card and then on the second card. Only cards that are open, i.e. don’t have another card on top of them, can be paired. It doesn’t matter where the cards are, you can pair cards that are in the pyramid, in the waste or in the temporary card storage.
- Aces count as 1, Jacks as 11 and Queens as 12. The valid pairs are: Ace & Queen, Two & Jack, Three & Ten, Four & Nine, Five & Eight, Four & Nine.
- Kings count as 13 and can be removed by simply clicking on them.
- Flip the stock to reveal three additional cards that will be added to the three waste piles. Note that resetting the stock is not possible. You can only loop through it once.
- Move an open card from the pyramid or the waste to the temporary card storage in the bottom left.
- Undo a move by clicking the undo button in the bottom right corner. Note that you can only go back one move.
If you are still unsure about which moves are allowed, follow the in-game tutorial.
Pyramid Solitaire Ancient Egypt has several scoring rules that reward quick play and good strategy. Complete different rounds after each other to improve your score.
- Removal of a pair of cards or a King: 500 points
- Completion of a round: 10,000 points
- (Bonus) Removal of all cards, so not only the pyramid but also the cards in the stock & waste: 15,000 points
- (Bonus) Time bonus shown in the top left corner: counts down from 20,000 points to 0 while playing
- (Bonus) Incremental round number bonus: round number * 1,000 points
Note that using the undo button does not impact your score.
There are many different versions of Pyramid Solitaire. Variations allow to reset the stock and/or they only have one waste pile. There are no official or right rules for Pyramid Solitaire, but we prefer the rules we used for our implementation because they are a good combination of skill and luck.
Pyramid Solitaire was used as inspiration for Giza Solitaire. If you like playing Pyramid Solitaire Ancient Egypt, you can also have a look at TriPeaks Solitaire, which is also in the Adding & Pairing solitaire games category.
What Was the Importance of Pyramids in Ancient Egypt?
The pyramids of Egypt are among the most recognizable and enduring monuments of the ancient world. Long after they were built, other ancient peoples, such as the Greeks and Romans, wrote about them with as much awe as people do today. The Greeks included the Giza Pyramids among the Seven Wonders of the World, which brought an appreciation of the structures to people who would not otherwise see them. The Greco-Roman admiration of the pyramids was transferred to medieval and early modern Europe, where early attempts to uncover the pyramids' mysteries were made. Influenced by the Bible, Europeans of these periods believed that the pyramids were the famed granaries of Joseph in Genesis's book. Around the same time, Arab and Persian writers postulated that Egypt's pyramids were actually vessels of esoteric knowledge of a previous age. Although these early writers erred in their judgment of the pyramids’ functions, they were correct to assume that they were important structures.
During the nineteenth century, when the discipline known as Egyptology was emerging, scholars discovered that the pyramids were, in fact, tombs for the Egyptian kings. This in itself was important, but it became even more so when scholars learned more about ancient Egyptian religion and discovered that Egyptian kings were also viewed as gods. The pyramids were more than just tombs, though. They were part of often expansive temple complexes that played an integral role in the religious life of Old Kingdom Egypt. Pyramid construction also evolved considerably during the Old Kingdom, demonstrating the Egyptians’ ability to tackle complex architectural problems early in human civilization.
The Symbolism of the Pyramids
Unfortunately, no manual has been discovered that details how the pyramids were built or what they were meant to represent. Although that certainly presents some problems to the modern scholar, some conclusions can be drawn concerning the pyramids' symbolism. Any discussion or examination of what the pyramids were meant to symbolize must begin with the ancient Egyptian concept of divine kingship and how that related to Egyptian religion.
In all of his manifestations, the sun-god was among the most important deities in the Egyptian pantheon. After death, the king was associated with the sun-god, so Egyptologists have long argued that pyramids are solar symbols. One of the most common solar interpretations is that pyramids represent the sun's rays shining down on the deceased king's mummy.  It is also significant that the very tops of pyramids, known as “pyramidions,” were often gilded, giving a shiny appearance. Others have argued that pyramids, especially step pyramids, represent steps to the heavens that the deceased king will use on his journey in the afterlife. 
Another possible explanation for the pyramids' shape is that they were meant to represent the sacred benben stone in Heliopolis. The benben stone was a pyramidion, which according to the Helipolitan creation myth, was the primordial mound of creation. Because of that, many modern scholars theorize that the pyramids were meant to represent the primordial mound of creation through which life emerged. 
The layout of pyramids also had symbolic significance. Since pyramids were tombs, they were always located on the Nile River's west bank, where most tombs were located in ancient Egypt because the deceased needed to see the sunrise each morning. The layout of the Great Pyramids of Giza has particularly been a point of interest among scholars and laypeople alike. Noted scholars state that the three pyramids may indeed have pointed toward Heliopolis's city, further proving the structures' solar significance, but that they do not match Orion’s Belt as some fringe theories have claimed. 
=The Evolution of the Pyramids
Among the general public, there is often confusion about the origins of the pyramids, which is frequently the result of fantastic theories and outright falsehoods perpetuated on television programs and other media. Early Egyptian history examination reveals an evident progression that began with small burial mounds, developing gradually into “true” pyramids. In Egypt’s First and Second Dynasties, kings were buried in mud-brick mounds that are known as mastabas, which is an Arabic word for “bench.” Most scholars believe that the mound, or bench, represented the primordial mound of creation discussed above.
The earliest mastabas were built in the Upper Egyptian (southern) city of Hierakonpolis, probably where the Egyptian concept of divine kingship was first articulated.  Later in the Second Dynasty, the royal burials moved a bit farther north to Abydos and finally to the area near the modern village of Saqqara in Lower Egypt, just outside of the ancient capital of Memphis on the west bank of the Nile River.  By the end of the Second Dynasty, the mastabas had grown in size, and extended members of the royal family, as well as non-royal government officials, began to be buried near the kings in the royal necropolis.
The next step in Egyptian royal burial construction was to stack successively smaller mastabas on top of each other to create a “step pyramid.” The famed architect and scientist, Imhotep, is generally credited with being the “inventor” of the step pyramid as he was the vizier and “overseer of the works” under the first king of the Third Dynasty, Djoser (ruled ca. 2667-2648 BC).  Not only was Djoser’s step pyramid the first Egyptian burial monument made of stone, but it also provided a template for later pyramids as a “temple complex.” The king’s tomb was located beneath the 196-foot high solid structure, but all around it was a 5,397-foot long wall that enclosed the pyramid and several other religious buildings. 
The entire complex was essentially dedicated to the kingship god Horus and Osiris's divinity, the god of the dead, who were merged with the sun-god in the pyramid. Besides the religious significance, pyramid complexes became economic and population focal points of the community: merchants and artisans all were drawn to them for various professional reasons. 
The Pyramid Age
Although Djoser’s pyramid represented a major step forward in the evolution of pyramids regarding structure, style, and purpose, it would not be until the Fourth Dynasty when the first attempts at a “true” pyramid were made. King Snefru (reigned ca. 2613-2589 BC) started the Pyramid Age by building three pyramids: one near Meidum and two near Dashur. The Medium pyramid was originally intended to be a step pyramid early in the king’s rule. Later in his life, he had it filled in, making it a true pyramid, albeit with extremely steep angles. 
Snefru’s long reign allowed him the luxury to build three potential tombs and to choose which one best suited his mummy. The second pyramid Snefru had built was the Bent Pyramid, located near the village of Dashur. The pyramid is noticeable for its extreme angles near the top: the bottom of the pyramid has a 52-53 degree angle, while the top is 43 to 44 degrees. Modern scholars believe that the extreme difference in angles may have been the result of structural problems, but it is impossible to say for sure. 
The final pyramid Snefru constructed was the North or Red Pyramid, so named for its reddish color. The king began the pyramid in his thirtieth year of rule, but it remains unknown if that was the final resting place. The Red Pyramid is considered the first true pyramid that survived unblemished and therefore provided the later Giza Pyramids template. 
The Giza Pyramids
Snefru left his son and successor, Khufu (ruled ca. 2589-2566 BC), known as Cheops to the Greeks, with an impressive architectural base from which to build. Khufu did so by building the greatest of the three pyramids known collectively as the “Great Pyramids” or the “Giza Pyramids” for the modern town in Lower Egypt near where they are located. Khufu’s Pyramid covers 13.1 acres, is 479 feet high, and has a slope of 53 degrees. Smaller pyramids accompanied the Great Pyramid for the king’s queens and a royal bark that was never used in the temporal world but was buried next to the pyramid to be ridden by the king through the underworld. 
The organization of the labor needed to build the pyramids was almost as incredible as the pyramids themselves. The Great Pyramid was built from 2,300,000 limestone stones, each weighing about 2.5 tons.  The workers were picked from villages throughout Egypt in a conscription/draft system, were paid, and their families were also taken care of while they were away. The men would be divided into groups of 25,000 who would work for three-month “tours.” There were two gangs of 1,000 men working on any working day, further divided into “phyles” of 200 men, subdivided into groups of twenty.
The quarry was less than a mile away, making hauling the stones easier, but the workers had to do so without wheels. Twenty men could pull a two-ton block on a sled from the quarry to the pyramid in about twenty minutes, less if they poured water into making the sled slide better. Ten stone setters would work per block. The builders had no pulleys, so they constructed dirt ramps that allowed them to stack the blocks. 
Two kings after Khufu, Khafra (reigned ca. 2558-2532 BC), called Chephren by the Greeks, was the next king to build a pyramid at Giza. Although Khafra’s pyramid looks bigger than Khufu’s, it is thirty-three feet higher on a bedrock foundation. Khafra’s pyramid is slightly sharper than Khufu’s, and the bottom is made from red granite. 
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Khafra’s pyramid is the larger complex, which contains the fabled Sphinx. The Sphinx, which was carved from the natural bedrock instead of limestone, and the temple complex are connected to the pyramid by a causeway that at one time would have connected to canals that brought people to and from the Nile.  The smallest of the three Great Pyramids was King Menkaura’s (reigned ca. 2532-2503 BC), known to the Greeks as Mykerinos. After Menkaura, the Pyramid Age's high point peaked, but it was not completely done.
The pyramids constructed after the Fourth Dynasty were inferior in size but not so in religious importance. The last king of the Fifth Dynasty, Unas (ruled ca, 2375-2345 BC), introduced an innovation to the Pyramid Texts pyramids. The Pyramid Texts were a collection of hieroglyphic texts, known as Utterances, inscribed on the pyramid’s tomb chamber walls, which served to unite the king in death with Osiris and the different manifestations of the sun-god.  One Utterance describes how the rides an ethereal bark with the sun gods Re and Atum and Isis, who was the goddess of magic and Osiris’ wife:
Pyramid building continued into the Middle Kingdom (ca. 1975-1640 BC), which comprised Egypt’s Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasties. Most of the prominent pyramids from this period were built near the city of Lisht in Middle Egypt, but some were also constructed near Dashur.  These pyramids were. Still, a shadow of those built during the Fourth Dynasty and by the New Kingdom, the royals abandoned pyramids as royal burials in favor of more isolated and hidden tombs in the Kings' Valley near Thebes in southern Egypt.
Pyramids played an important role during ancient Egypt’s Old Kingdom for some reasons. They not only functioned as tombs for their kings, who were seen as gods but were the focal point of a much larger temple complex. The pyramids' structure gradually grew from being simple mound tombs into the grand structure that most people think of today. Once the size and quality of pyramids declined slightly, their theological significance did not. Later kings plastered their pyramids' interiors with some of the oldest religious texts known to man as a testament to pyramid building's importance in ancient Egypt.
Ancient Egypt: Religion, Facts and Pyramids
The civilization of Ancient Egypt lasted longer than the entire span of what we have come to accept as 'recorded history': over three thousand years. During these millenia the Egyptians developed a multitude of gods and goddesses, as well as esoteric practices that we are still unravelling the meaning of. Besides this, Egypt was the source of the first true monothestic religion, under the pharaoh Akhenaton. This rich tradition was mostly unknown until the early nineteenth century, when the Egyptian language was finally deciphered.
The Pyramid Texts
Samuel A. B. Mercer , translator [ 1952 ].
The oldest sacred text in the world that we know of, dating back to 3100 B.C.E.
The Pyramid Texts are funerary inscriptions from the early pyramids. This was the first translation of the Pyramid Texts into English, and this etext is the first time it has appeared on the Internet.
Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt
by James Henry Breasted [ 1912 ].
Millennia of Egyptian religious evolution as seen through their literature, including extensive quotes from the Pyramid Texts.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead
E. A. Wallis Budge , translator [ 1895 ].
The best known Ancient Egyptian sacred text, which describes the journey into the afterlife.
The Egyptian Heaven and Hell
by E. A. Wallis Budge [ 1905 ]
A journey through the night side of the Ancient Egyptian cosmos.
Vol. I: The Book of the Am-Tuat
Vol II: The Book of Gates
Vol III: The Egyptian Heaven and Hell
The Liturgy of Funerary Offerings
by E. A. Wallis Budge [ 1909 ].
Also known as "The Book of the Opening of the Mouth", this book contains a large extract from the Pyramid Texts, the oldest known Ancient Egyptian sacred text.
The Demotic Magical Papyrus of London and Leiden
by F.Ll. Griffith and Herbert Thompson [ 1904 ]
A late Egyptian magical text originally written in Demotic.
Reprinted by Dover as 'The Leyden Papyrus.'
Legends of the Gods: The Egyptian Texts
by E. A. Wallis Budge [ 1912 ]
Translations of key Ancient Egyptian myths. Includes the De Iside et Osiride of Plutarch
The Burden of Isis
by James Teackle Dennis [ 1910 ]
A translation of a set of hymns to the goddess Isis.
The Wisdom of the Egyptians
by Brian Brown [ 1923 ]
Coverage of the history of Ancient Egyptian religion, with some important texts included: the Ptah-Hotep and the Ke'gemini
the Wisdom of Hermes Trismegistus
the Story of the Book of Thoth
The Rosetta Stone
by E. A. Wallis Budge [ 1893 , 1905 ]
The famous monument which opened up the Ancient Egyptian writing system: with extensive background material and a full translation of the text.
The Hieroglyphics of Horapollo
translated by Alexander Turner Cory [ 1840 ]
An attempt in late antiquity to explain Egyptian Hieroglyphs as pure symbols (very unsuccessfully). Noted for its influence on later occultists.
Records of the Past
ed. by A. H. Sayce [ 1888 ]
Translations of mythological and historical texts from the Ancient Near East.
Tutankhamen: Amenism, Atenism and Egyptian Monotheism
by E. A. Wallis Budge [ 1923 ]
Egyptian Myth and Legend
Donald A. Mackenzie [ 1907 ]
Thousands of years of tales of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses.
Ancient Egyptian Legends
Margaret Alice Murray [ 1920 ]
A taste of Ancient Egyptian mythology, by the trailblazing scholar Margaret Murray.
Legends of Babylonia and Egypt
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The size of the largest pyramid is around 137 meters tall and the smallest pyramid is about 65 meters tall. The smallest pyramid is taller than Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Facts about Ancient Egypt Pyramid 10: The function of pyramids
As we know that pyramids were built for tombs of pharaohs. Because ancient Egyptian believed that there is life after death. The bodies of rich people will be preserved into mummies and buried in tombs, but the poor people will be burrried in the sand.
We have talked facts about ancient egypt pyramids. Are you interested to read this article?
The Creation Story in Ancient Egypt
Religion stayed remarkably constant throughout the 3,000 years from the Old kingdom through to the arrival of Christianity in the Roman period. The fervor behind religious practice lay in keeping the divine order in motion and in defending life and order from chaos. Knowledge of the various gods and goddesses come from rituals and texts that were to defend the individual in life and the afterlife.
The Old Kingdom Gods
There are not great tales about the gods like in Roman and Greek mythology rather there are only allusions to the gods and their roles. Egyptian deities can be split into separate parts but remain a central figure. For example, Khons-in-Thebes and Khons-the-child merge together to form a compound deity of Amun-Ra.
From the early period of the Old Kingdom there is talk of the creator, most closely associated with the sun. The Egyptian myth of creation is like that which happens to their precious Nile every year when the land emerges covered with fresh silt after every flood.
Every new temple built was seen as representing creation itself and the raised ground under the sanctuary was considered to be the primeval mound of creation. The main temple of the sun was in Helipolis. Inside was a sacred stone called benben in the shape of a pyramid.
Benbenet was the name given to the capstone of a pyramid. The benu, a bird like a heron would fly from the newly found solid ground of the flood in a symbol of creation. In a similar story, a creator-god as a youth would appear out of a lotus flower to bring the breath and scent of life.
At Heliopolis the sun god was named Atum meaning ‘the all’, which symbolized a completeness of matter that superseded the other gods. He was pharaoh as a human wearing the Double Crown of the two lands.
Atum was male and created another generation of deities including Shu, a preserving force of dry air and light and Tefnut, the corrosive force of moisture. He created these by a partnership with a female counterpart called Iussaas or Heka. Iussaas had a place at the temple in Heliopolis also and was called Nebethetepet or the mistress of Hetepet.’
Second Generation of Gods
There was a third generation of gods to follow on the second from Shu and Tefnut came the earth Geb and the sky Nut. The latest generation of gods and probably the most easily recognized now was Osiris and his wife Isis and Seth and his wife Nephthys.
About these deities the Egyptians did leave many stories and about Isis and Osiris’ son Horus. The first nine deities from Atum to the children of Geb and Nut were called the Nine of Heliopolis or Ennead and dominate literature from the Pyramid texts of the Old Kingdom until the Roman period.
Before the Creation Story
There were also beliefs concerning what happened before the creator, Atum. There was said to be ‘the Eight’ who were present at the appearance of the primeval mound. In the Middle Kingdom they were said to be Nun and Nenet, god and goddess of the primeval waters, Heh and Hehet, god and goddess of eternity Kek and Keket, god and goddess of darkness and Tenem and Tenemet, god and goddess of twilight. From these eight Atum was created.
In order to create something out of nothing Atum relied on three forces. The first was Heka the magical force of creativity. He used Sia ‘perception’ to find a goal which was fulfilled through Hu, the divine word.
The Egyptians worshipped creativity in other ways not related to the creation itself. The god Min was worshipped as a symbol of masculine fertility, whilst Khnum was said to be the god of creativity through pottery. His temple stood on the Elephantine in the south of Egypt.
He also became responsible for the fertility brought by the silt out of which pottery was made and from which crops grew. Satet was the wife of Khnum and the huntress of gazelles Anuket joined them to form a triad that was typical of Egyptian religion from the New Kingdom to the Roman period.
Ptah symbolized the source of power and was the god of metalwork. His main worshipping location was in Memphis, the Old Kingdom capital, where the main workshops were. This craftsmanship would stretch not just to the making of metal tools but to the use of them also for example in cutting building blocks or fashion sculpture. Ptah was therefore also a patron of arts and crafts.
Temple or Tomb?
On a metaphysical level, for some belief systems the Great Pyramid is a place of great spiritual significance. If the Great Pyramid was used for religious purposes — such as a temple, place of meditation, or holy monument — rather than as a tomb, then certainly its size alone would make it a place of wonder. Although all evidence points to it being a funerary monument, there are several religious sites within the pyramid complex. Specifically, there is a temple in the small valley nearby, by the Nile River, and connected to the pyramid by a causeway.
The ancient Egyptians saw the shape of the pyramids as a method of providing new life to the dead, because the pyramid represented the form of the physical body emerging from the earth and ascending towards the light of the sun.
Dr. Ian Shaw of the BBC says that aligning the pyramid towards specific astronomical events was done with the use of the merkhet, similar to an astrolabe, and a sighting tool called a bay. He says,
Today, many people visit Egypt and tour the Giza Necropolis. The entire area is said to be filled with magic and mystery.